Saturday, February 20, 2010


There are so just many reasons to stop this Gates Grant in its tracks.

I have heard more negative that positive at this point. The negative are so logical that I wonder what else is behind the scenes we don't know about.

The "town hall" I attended was contentious and bitter. The district response did nothing to quell my reservations. Was that an anomaly?


Anonymous said...

Ever notice how the district jumps on every bandwagon? That way they are a moving target and the public never gets a thorough understanding of what's going on! They can't even compare graduating classes across a decade!!!

Anonymous said...

This grant only serves the interests of the leadership of the School District. Kids are failing. Morale is terrible. Money is tight. They need a scapegoat.

The Gates grant hands it to them on a 100 million silver platter.

Teachers are the reason the system is failing. Mr. Gates is giving them a ton of money, much of it being spent to further feather administrative nests, and someone to blame. The fix is in folks.

All the Gates money is being spent on improving teachers. Not a dime is going to addressing student apathy, increasing school violence or administrative incompetence.

The CTA is a full partner to this assault on the teachers of Hillsborough Co. The money wouldn’t have been granted had the CTA not been on-board. The CTA is working hard to sell it.
Here’s how they will “fix” teachers. They will hire 300 folks whose primary qualification is they are willing to take 15 days of paid training at reduced pay during their summer. Many poor teachers are content to work for minimum wage to make ends meet.

Fifteen days of training!
Yep, armed with a few weeks of training from God knows who, they will be assigned to mentor every teacher in the county. Freshly graduated from a 3 week quick-course, they will provide all that is needed to fix the failed teachers who got us into this mess.

Can you possible imagine how well they will be received?
Teachers who work from their home to do all they can for kids will be subjected to the humiliation of being “mentored” by the “3 week wonders” whose only qualification is that they will tow the line and find enough fault to satisfy Mr. Gates and the gang of ROSSAC administrators specially hired to manage the money.
Does anyone think that the “3 week wonders” will go back to Ms. Elia and tell her that the teachers are doing all they can and the real problem is weak administrators and apathetic parents? No way. Do that and they can say good-bye to their sweet bonus packages. They are hired to fix teachers so the assumption is that they are broken.

The fix is in and there is nothing teachers can do about it. Teachers who have a clue what is about to happen to them are very concerned. Most have no idea. A friend of mine, a 27 year teacher and CTA representative thought that only teachers with “problems” on their previous evaluations would be assigned mentors. Another thought that he could “opt out” of all parts of it.

I had to tell them that both were 100% wrong. I am sure the district, despite its heralded communication offensive, is counting on teachers being like the proverbial sheep. We know what happened to them.
So buckle your seat belts, it’s going to long strange ride. The light at the end of the tunnel is that even the mega rich grantor, Bill Gates, is already getting ready with his own excuses for the failure of this give away. He recently observed that Hillsborough Co had a “long road” ahead of them and cited administrative mismanagement and lack of teacher buy-in as potential obstacles to success.

Hmmm….I know he’s right on one count and pray he’s right on the other.


Anonymous said...

"There are so just many reasons to stop this Gates Grant in its tracks."

Well, you can. This thing will not work without CTA backing. Remember, one of the prerequisites to getting this money was a cooperative CTA. I am convinced that many members do not have a real understanding of all it entails.

Suzie, are you a CTA member? All that has to be done is make a motion to stop this before the body at a Rep Council meeting and have it voted on. Do you recall that even Mr. Gates expressed concern about teacher buy in?

If the CTA backs out, the grant is functionally dead, if not dead, at least fatally crippled.

I know this for absolute certain.

What do you think? If you are interested let me know.

Suzie Creamcheese said...

Suzie, are you a CTA member?

No, I resigned.

However, I would have second thoughts if they pulled their support for this train wreck.

Nicholas said...

Anonymity is for cowards! I am the CTA Executive Director. I have been at every one of the scheduled Gates Forums. Not a one of them has been contentious. Which one did you attend? If you reveal that fact, I will send additional CTA members to your blog to confirm that none of the sessions has been anything but calm and informational. Nick Whitman

Suzie Creamcheese said...

Sorry Nick, I'm not taking the bait. Now if you want to argue vocabulary - I'm in, but my experience with CTA and the district requires anonymity. You calling me a coward is the price I willing pay for speaking my mind and keeping my job.
Re: Erwin, Goader
hint: (removed)

You are welcome to make any point, any time on this blog. Read the past posts to get a feel for our skepticism. We are looking for leadership - NOT capitulation. You have a long way to go to convince those of us who have been here for a while. I've watched but laid back, giving you a chance to adapt to your new surroundings - its only fair.

Please know that everyone I've talked with or overheard is opposed to this grant and what comes with it. We still remember when the 6 out of 7 was forced upon us so understand why they choose to remain in the shadows. Its not just money either. Its how the district responds.

We all know incompetent teachers who have been allowed to continue teaching because they have been lucky enough to work for equally incompetent administrators.

As a beginning teacher I absorbed everything I could from those more experienced than me. I now share my thoughts and rationale with those that ask.

You must win us over with the logic and honesty that quells our concerns. Then the bold action that backs it up.

The dues you collect from your members are tendered for member benefit alone: NOT the children's, not the district's, not the state's.

CTA can stand up and say: we can no longer support the district in its quest for "the local contribution" to the Gates Foundation. Our members are not guinea pigs for an unproven evaluation/testing process. Then strengthen the suspension on your bandwagon.

Nicholas said...

I know your name is not Suzy Creamcheese . . . but my comment was more directly aimed at the cowards that anonymously respond to your posts rather than you. I notice you did not identify which Gates forum you attended. If you would like me to have faith in what you write, it will need to be factual. Here is a fact . . . On February 16, over 300 of CTA's elected representatives were released from their duties to attend a Gates presentation at the ISC. At the end of that presentation and the following Q&A period, those representatives applauded. That being the case, I have to challenge your assertion that everyone you talked to is opposed to the grant. The CTA Rep Council, Board of Directors, and President are supporting the Empowering Effective Teachers Grant. As long as that is the case, the CTA Executive Director - an employee of the Association, will be working to implement the grant. If the people you are talking to are not in favor of the grant, they should get involved in CTA. Nick Whitman

Anonymous said...

I thought the real show was outside the auditorium in the lobby and parking lot. Just like faculty meetings you got all kinds of comments flying around.

I suspect maybe Tom and Anne E Mouse where there.

Suzie Creamcheese said...


I have carefully cultivated my "standing in the shadows" life in order to hear and see things as they are - first hand. Often times I must avoid posting what I know because it would just create unnecessary noise.

It is impractical to ban anonymous postings, however reasoned and measured responses from you provide a welcomed opportunity for our followers to understand your position. It can only elevate the discussion.

So, how about it BRs, are we seeing leadership from Nick? Is he the real deal?

Anonymous said...

"I will send additional CTA members to your blog to confirm that none of the sessions has been anything but calm and informational"

Bet you will Nick. You will order them right?

Cowards? Who do you think you are? You have no idea what your friends at ROSSAC are capable of? Ever hear about Doug Erwin?

You are way too close to the people who run the district. Just why are you so happy to support people who clearly disrespect teachers?

Calling people cowards. Wow... You got some real nerve.

The school board attorney, you know, the one who calls you Nick, did you happen to read his threat against anyone who speaks against them?

People who speak out against the district have everything to fear.

Did your buddy Tom order you to post here? Do you really feel comfortable siding with them?

You just got here newbie. Your trash talk only makes us more convinced you dont work for teachers.

Who do you represent? Maybe you can get someone from downtown to find out who we are. I am sure they will do whatever is necessary to stifle dissent.

Go ahead and order CTA members to post here. I am sure they will post their real names. They got protection.

Ever even hear of Doug Erwin, Nick? How about you educate yourself before you call people cowards?

Nicholas said...

Suzy - You have now twice refused to identify the Forum that you attended. In addition, you put in print that "I must avoid posting what I know . . ." If this blog cannot be a forum where conversations are based on facts and specifics, it cannot be a venue that I regularly visit and rely on to gauge the pulse of the community or Association. That being the case, this may be my last message to you. Nick Whitman, CTA Executive Director

Goader said...



Salutations and respect for having the cojones to join in the online conversation and not hide behind your so-called position of power. Along with your effort of ongoing communication with teachers via email, you have received another brownie point.

I will join Suzie in urging you to keep in mind the many silent teachers that count on your leadership to protect their interests. It is all too easy to identify with the administration you find yourself face-to-face with, whose interests are not the same as rank-and-file employees, and forget about those that pay your rather handsome salary.

Anonymous said...

"however reasoned and measured responses"

You call his calling anonymous posters on your site "cowards", reasoned and measured?

His post was neither reasoned or measured. It wasn't even truthful.

I will say this. His running to the defense of this grant on your blog is certainly a hint that he is getting worried.

Nick. Be careful. You have not been here long enough to go shooting off your mouth at the people who pay your salary.

NOT one of them has been contentious? Sure about that Nick?

Did you miss the CTA sponsored, meeting on 2/16 when a CTA member asked your good friend Mary Ellen how she could come up with 100 million match for Gates and then plead poverty on any money for teachers?

I guess that depends on how you define contentious eh Nick?

Anonymous said...

Who will "replace" those high performing teachers that become mentors while they mentor/evaluate?

The mentors will have a 2 year run then return to their original school. In essence we remove what we beleive are the best teachers and replace them with an equal number of temps!

How wise is that?! TEMPS, for chris'sake, will be teaching our students and affecting the school's grades.

How do you hire someone for 2 years? Do you lie and tell them attrition will make room for them?

Does anyone see the corner CTA has backed themselves into? Who in their right mind will see any wisdom in joining an organization that offers no career step to a permanent job? How can they ask for dues?

Anonymous said...

Actually Nick asked the question about the 100 million for Gates but not for raises for a member who wrote in the question.

As for the applause, I wouldn't make too much of that. Teachers are polite.

As for Nick's cojones, I wouldn't start fawning over the guy.

Goader, he called anonymous posters "cowards". Do you agree with him?

You would assign "brownie points to him? Not me. He is not your friend and he does not deserve any kind of credit.

See Mr. Whitman? Teachers are polite which is more than I can say for you.

Anonymous said...

"That being the case, this may be my last message to you. Nick Whitman, CTA Executive Director"

You show up, calling people "cowards", making demands and when they are not immediately addressed, you run away.

Running away? What are people who run away called, Mr. CTA Executive Director? Its a description you are fond of using.

Personally, I think are no more interested in the "pulse of the community" than I am in your self important ranting on behalf of the School District of Hillsborough Co.

Let me ask you something Mr. Whitman. If I were to post my name, would you stand up beside me when the district tried to "Steve Kemp/Doug Erwin" me?

Come on back and answer that and educate yourself on what the former Chair and still member of the School Board wanted done about local blogs.

Read this and if you have the courage, come back and engage in a real dialog. No demands, just respond to our legitimate concerns about possible retribution before you start calling people "cowards".

I think you should apologize for your intemperate comments. Perhaps I should too.

You go first. Please read about the history of blogs. Please read about Doug Erwin. Find out about what happened to Steve Kemp.

Please take the time to understand why we fear using our names? Please come on back and lets have a dialog. No name calling. I seriously doubt that you are really interested but on the off chance you are the real deal, I'm asking you to come back and try to have a conversation.

What do you say Mr. Whitman?

Anonymous said...

Nick,Nick,Nick - I just want to know this and that - When will CTA hear our "VOICE" ??? When will they let us "VOICE" our concerns,opinions, or even vote on a proposal such as a 100 million dollar grant BEFORE they lie down with the board ??? How many times has CTA accepted provisions that seek to diminish our noble profession that is TEACHING ???( Spring Board) OUR contracts from year to year seem to become inferior and deficient! Isn't the mark of an effective union to provide contracts that will enhace their members livelihood ??? Just Sayin'
PS A "party" or BBQ will not help CTA keep its members. WE have had ENOUGH! An investigation is forthcoming... mark my words!

Anonymous said...

I'm calling you out Nick.

"Get" your CTA members to post here with their real names. I spoke with a CTA building rep with 25+ years of teaching experience and a 25+ year CTA member.

She told me that there was NO applause after the 2/16 meeting. Her recollection of that meeting was in significant variance with yours.

I respectfully request you go ahead and get CTA members, you know, regular Hillsborough Co teachers who were there on 2/16, to corroborate your statements about the tone of the meeting and the fact members applauded at the conclusion of the district's presentation.

You probably knew that we were afraid to post in the clear so it was no risk for you to post your crap . I originally assumed that you were unaware of the nasty treatment dissenters receive. Now I am not so sure. Perhaps you were asked to "out" us.

Who "got" you to write such provocative words?

Get those CTA members to post here and tell us how the 2/16 meeting really went.

Well Nick, what do you say? you talked a whole lot of trash when you called us cowards.

Ready to put your money where your mouth is?

Remember.....real names.

Anonymous said...

I guess Goader is a goner!

Anonymous said...

Looks like he may have missed a payment to his hosting site.
Easy enough to fix.
Unless he just plain got tired of some of the crap.

Anonymous said...

Goader? Yeah, I miss his fearless commentary. His MIA status is particularly ill-timed. We need his voice now.

His blog used to be awesome. He's a courageous and decent man. He did a fine job shining a light on the lengths they will go to punish those who stand up for themselves when unfairly persecuted.

We need you big time.

Folks we got MUCH bigger fish to fry.

Personally I would love to see Nick Whitman, Executive Director of the CTA and chief SDHC apologist come back and accept the challenge of those "coward" anonymous posters who called him on his "disingenuous" statements. Little white lies about applause at a CTA "truth session" has already been eclipsed but much bigger issues.

Nick, are you working on the CTA's position on the tenure gutting legislation put forward by Jeb Bush's water carrier Sen. John Thrasher? I would hope he's against it but sadly, I am not sure. I'm thinking that the ROSSAC folks have instructed him to keep quiet on this.

Or maybe he's huddled with Dr. Steele at the Sheldon office trying to figure out how to explain why they need to spend $375,000 of the Gates grant to hire a PR firm to sell it.

Hey Nickolas. If the Gates grant is such a wonderful idea, why does the district need to shell out a $375,000 bucks to sell it? Bucks, by the way that were supposed to be spent fixing the terrible teachers you represent.

Let me get this straight Mr. Whitman. There's no money to give teachers a raise but plenty to hire a world class PR firm like Hill and KNowlton to spin a plan that sells out teachers.

Hill & Knowlton no less. Wow, you friends have got some heavy bucks. Hill and Knowlton's work doesn't come cheap. They have had some deep pocket clients in the past and they got the job done!

Hill and Knowlton. Lets look at their successes.

In the 1950s, the Hill and Knowlton was hired by tobacco manufacturers to deal with the threat from the emerging medical evidence linking smoking with lung cancer.

They held off government regulation didn't they? So people died, no big deal.

In October 1990, , a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, ‘Nurse Nayirah’, claimed that Iraqi soldiers had stolen incubators from a hospital in Kuwait City, leaving the children that were in them to die. The claim was that more than 300 children had perished as a result. In fact, the whole story was a total fabrication. ‘Nurse Nayirah’ was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US who had been coached to tell this tale by staff at Hill and Knowlton.

But hey....President Bush got his war. Why should the truth get in the way.

Clearly Hill and Knowlton are the "go to" firm when you need to promulgate the BIG lie.

My God, Mr. Whitman. Now I understand. You are way too busy to talk to mere teachers, especially ones you were told to brand as "cowards".

You've come a long way from Racine Wisconsin, eh Nick?.

You are in the big time now.

Goader said...

Not a goner, I'm still here. My domain expired and I wanted to get a new domain name that reflected the blog. I am in the process of transferring the Web site over to the new domain and a new server. The new URL is so stay tuned the blog will up and running soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to dvr the Glenn Beck show on Friday. Its all about the effort to take over the schools and I'm thinking I could learn something.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see teachers questioning the new CTA Exec Director. It's been a very long time since CTA actually represented teachers--they've been joined at the hip with HCPS--much easier to scratch each other's backs that way! You should have done your home work, Mr. Director, before accepting this job. There's a long history of corruption here. You're in the pit now. We'll be looking for evidence that you really do represent teachers. Wonder how long you'll stay?
Beck at 5:00 Friday? Let's check it out.
If I trusted you, Mr. Director, I'd leave my name, but, I'm smarter and more experienced than that.

Anonymous said...

Nickolas Whitman the Executive Director of the CTA is gone.

Punk a** fat boy.

....and he called us cowards.

Where are those CTA members you were going to "get" to come here and post?

Nickolas is going to bend over on the extra planning days.

Nickolas is going to bend over on the tenure fight

Nickolas is going to bend over on 6/7

Nickolas is going to bend over on Gates

Nickolas is going to bend over on RTT.

Unions all over Florida are challenging School Boards but good old pliable Nick and the HCTA is ROCCAC's NBF.

Don't you have anything to say Nicholas?

Goader said...

John Thrasher's Performance Appraisal

Lucy Lee said...

I am involved in CTA and I am against the Gates Grant. I did attend the Dog and Pony Show info meetings and was not impressed. It was a staged affair. If SB6 passes it will not be long before the 2 tier pay plan will be gone. Politicos can't be trusted.
My compensation will be based on the evaluation of an incompetent principal and an inexperienced mentor.
The children are another story. They do not attend school regularly, have no school supplies,have no respect for authority and show little interest in what I'm teaching. They are rude and disruptive. The principal where I attempt to teach wants to be their friend.
Nick, you along with Jean, Yvonne and the "make no waves" puppet CTA Executive Board have cooked out goose. Teachers are well done and the meat is falling off the bone.
Yes, I am bitter.